The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple or Candlemas is described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:22–40). According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15, etc.). Luke explicitly says that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people (those who could not afford a lamb) (Leviticus 12:8), sacrificing "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Leviticus 12:1-4 indicates that this event should take place forty days after birth for a male child, hence the Presentation is celebrated 40 days after Christmas.)
After an icon by Theophanes the Cretan, 1535, Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos
Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that "he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus: "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: to be a light to lighten the gentiles and to be the glory of Thy people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32).
Book of Hours. Netherlands c1460 The Presentation at the Temple
Simeon then prophesied to Mary: "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about Jesus and his role in the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:36-38).
Folio 24 verso from Walther, Ingo F. and Norbert Wolf. Codices Illustres Cologne, TASCHEN, 2005, p. 127.
The Presentation at the Temple, Greek, c 1800
Ingeborg Psalter c. 1195 Manuscript (Ms. 9) Musée Condé, Chantilly
LTPSC Book of Hours.. Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Menologion of Basil II, 11C illuminated manuscript.
Presentation in the Temple from a Book of Hours in Latin. Central or Northern France, probably Bourges, early, 16th century).
Presentation in the Temple in a benedictional, Ottonian, about 1030–40
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple 1270s.
The Sforza Book of Hours Presentation in the Temple, from the prayers at None, British Library Add MS 34294, f. 104v
The St Albans Psalter, owned by St Godehard's Church, Hildesheim now at University of Aberdeen, Scotland Presentation in the Temple.